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Volume 3 Number 8                                   20 July 2011
Basic Ideas

Michele Bachmann
Presidential Series
    The York County Republican Party  and the Political Science Department at Winthrop University have joined forces to present the Presidential Series during the summer and fall of 2011. The first two meetings featured Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum; all Republican candidates for the 2012 Presidential nomination are expected to be featured over the next couple of months. Meetings are held at Winthrop University in Town Hall format, and are webcast and covered by all national television services. Students from the Winthrop Univesity Political Science Department serve as moderators.   

J.R. Wilt
From the Editor
      This newsletter is published as events warrant. Subscribers receive an email when updates are published. The email is very brief and contains a link to the new edition.  If you have news, pictures. links or comments  please let me know.  Note that the link on the Resources page now includes a way to check out the voting records of members of the SC legislature.
    To subscribe, click here.

    J.R. Wilt, Editor and Publisher

The Amazon Story
    The misleading  Amazon story keeps coming back. Now somebody estimates that agreeing not to require Amazon to collect sales tax will cost the state $61MM over 10 years. The last I knew the fact that Amazon was located in SC was going to generate $600MM in payroll over the next 10 years, and quite possibly double that. Plus there  is no possibility that the state gets any sales tax, because if the state requires Amazon to collect sales tax, Amazon will move to a more friendly state. The $61MM in sales tax revenue is thus a non-issue; the state is never going to collect it in any scenario. The $600MM or more in payroll is, however, very real. Seems like a good deal to me - $600MM or more in very real payroll versus $61MM in imaginary sales tax.
    The heartrending scenario of the customer walking into the shop of a hard working, tax paying SC businessman and scanning a barcode on his cellphone, then ordering from a cheaper source (which may or may not be Amazon) to save the sales tax is also illusory. What is new is not Amazon, it is the cell phone apps that allow the process to take place. The wise SC retailer is taking advantage of his/her proximity to an Amazon warehouse to market through  Amazon's partner program thus marketing nationwide with low cost shipping,
    There is no downside to having Amazon locate in SC and the upside is substantial indeed.

Tax Increases Don't Work
    Why is it that Republicans are so insistent that tax increases have no place in the current budget/debt ceiling controversy? The short answer is that tax increases do not produce additional revenue. The Congressional Budget Office has shown that over the last 50 years taxes have remained very near 18% of GDP independent of tax rates. The Internal Revenue Code is in serious need of revision to distribute the tax burden more fairly, but counting on changes to the Internal Revenue Code to produce additional revenue is futile. As tax rates go up Americans shift resources to tax exempt activities. 

The Road to Nowhere
    Sarah Nuckles, 5th District SCDOT Commissioner, reports that the Budget and Control Board is getting ready to vote on a $344MM bond issue to begin funding I-73 between I-95 and Myrtle Beach and provide an interchange between I-85 and the (nonexistant) I-73. This is merely the beginning of the funding requirements for I-73, which are estimated at $2Billion. Commissioner Nuckles believes that construction of I-73 is unjustified due to the recent completion of I-74 nearby in North Carolina. This is worse than a boondoggle because the money to pay for I-73 will come out of our Federal and State gas taxes that would otherwise be available to repair and maintain roads and bridges, a much more critical problem. See the complete remarks by Ms. Nuckles.

Economist Milton Freedman on School Choice

Sales Tax Reform
    H4271 proposed by Reps. Erickson, Allison, Horne, Thayer, Henderson. Brady and Long would reform the sales tax by eliminating exemptions on all items except food, prescription medicines and medical devices, heating fuel and durable medical equipment. The sales tax rate would be reduced from 6% to 3.85 % to produce the same revenue amd the Laws of South Carolina shortened by some 20 pages. The bill currently resides in the House Ways and Means Committee.

House Passes Cut, Cap and Balance
    On 19 July 2011 the US House passed the Cut, Cap and Balance proposal, which would take realistic steps toward solving the country's long term spending problem. Rep. Mick Mulvaney spoke on the House floor in favor of the bill shortly before its passage (above).

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